A silent history of our community.
Sometimes questions are more powerful than answers. Who are we? Where are we from? What is so special about us? But then again there are some answers which are pretty hard to understand, like “We are Sindhi”.
This one word ‘Sindhi’ in fact denotes a whole civilization with its roots connected to Indus Valley Civilization. And it was the collapse of Indus Valley Civilization which gave birth to diversification of cultures, customs, philosophies and way of life. And it is somewhere here “Sindhi-Punjabi’s” truly originate from.
Linage of Sindhi-Punjabi’s is not long it dates back to 1750, in two small districts – Dera Ismail Khan & Dera Ghazi Khan (formerly comprised in Punjab near Multan, now in Pakistan) – densely populated by one community, Punjabi’s. People were calm, creative, clever & hardworking. Women were beautiful, devoted, dedicated & homely. There was enough to make both ends meet. Hardly any reason to believe that there was an exodus coming their way, not once but twice.
Historically, Dera Ghazi Khan & Dera Ismail Khan are situated on the western bank of the Indus River. It was founded in 1476 by a Balouch ruler, Nawab Haji Khan Mirrani, also called Mirani Balouch and named the town after his son Ghazi Khan Mirrani. In those days, Dera Ghazi Khan was known as “Dera Phoolan Tha Sehra” due to plenty of gardens and kastori canal, supplied by the Indus River. And so Haji Khan Mirrani, a great cattle owner, was attracted to the site. Years passed and peace prevailed.
Because of the geographical location of Dera Ghazi Khan & Dera Ismail Khan the whole vicinity was ruled by many Islamic rulers and Mughals were not far away. History says that repeated invasions by the Mughals caused a lot of bloodshed in the region and that led to a mass migration. First jolt of exodus. Many people from few part of all over Punjab and Multan migrated and settled in Sindh. Where these migrants were named as ‘Punjabi’s to keep their entity. These migrant ‘Punjabi’s took little time to settle and prosper in their new homes. They adjusted to the new environments, adopted the Sindhi culture, Sindhi language and custom of land while maintaining their distinct identity Punjabi’s. Soon they spread over 36 town in Sindh.
Partition is often an imperfect and violent process. A battle between what exists and what is yet to be born. And in the midst of these birth pains morality loses its meaning. The question of good, evil reduces to one simple choice. Survive or Parish.
No sooner were they settled in their new homes, came the second jolt. The Partition of India. As many as 776,000 Sindhi Hindus and Sindhi speaking Punjabi’s were uprooted from their settlements and forced out of the country. Nowhere else to go, each one migrated to seek refuge in India and other parts of world. And it was there when the Sindhi speaking Punjabi’s migrated to India, were given their new entity. An entity with which they are known ever since then. They were called ‘Sindhi-Punjabi’s.
There is no such difference between “Sindhi-Punjabis” and Sindhi’s as a whole. Just like there are Sindhi Bhramins, Sindhi Bhaiband, Sindhi Shikarpuris, in a same way there are Sindhi Punjabi’s. Their customs, their traditions, their culture, their language is same as Sindhis. The solo reason why ‘Punjabi’ is added is because Sindhi Punjabi’s Guru is Bhai Shree Himat Singh Saheb, one of the ‘Panj Piyara’ chosen by Shree Guru Gobind Singh.
The Sindhi Punjabi’s as a people are very creative and hard-working, right form agriculture & cattle farming to manufacturing & trading of cotton, silk and woolen clothes to export & imports, Sindhi-Punjabi’s have mastered every trade. And after partition, just like everyone else, they too work-hard. Worked hard to survive. And they did. Their destiny led them to different parts of the world, conquering every field they chose.
Being a small community and spread world-over, it became hard for Sindhi-Punjabi’s to connect with each others. Soon 1960, an exercise was started to bring the people of the community closer. A few of our respected elders, settled in different parts of the country, took the charge to search for the members of the community settled all over India and unite them. And for the same purpose, it was decided to form a registered body ‘Akhil Bharat Sindhi Punjabi Welfare Association’, under which Puj Sindhi-Punjabi Panchayats were formed. Wherever it was needed many Sindhi-Punjabi Panchayats were formed. Efforts were taken to connect with Sindhi-Punjabi’s world-over and this proved fruitful. Today, Puj Sindhi-Punjabi Panchayats are in every city and town of India connecting the world.
Not only meeting on one platform was the reason for making Panchayats, the purpose of Panchayats is for preservation of culture & customes, to develop the feeling of unity, goodwill, co-operation and brotherhood amongst each other and to promote their economic, social, religious and physical well being through their respective panchayats in different cities in India. The Panchayat is also formed to provide freeship, scholarships, loans and other monetary assistances and encouragement to the students, researches, scholars & the needy. These Panchayats also help after marriage problems and needy widows with any support they want.
Every year Sindhi Punjabi Panchayats arrange sammellans (social gatherings) in different cities. These sammellans are a crowd puller and are celebrated as a grand event with stage performances, singing, dancing and a lot of fun followed by dinner. An evening people can’t resist attending every year. And every two years an All India Sindhi Punjabi general body meeting is organized to discuss ways for uplifting of the Panchayat, taking steps to curb social evil systems of dowry and other ill elements. The Panchayat’s also come up with resolutions for engagement, marriages and death.
The effort to unite the community still goes on and in many ways like the recent ‘Sindhi-Punjabi Youth Wing’.
In today‘s world what is highly sought after are the young minds, which can take forward the legacies of the previous generation and make revolutionary roads for future generations to come. Realizing this need for young and fresh ideas to come into the system, Pooj Sindhi-Punjabi Panchayat, Mumbai announced the formation of its Youth Wing, which gives a chance to all young Sindhi-Punjabis of Mumbai to take part in community activities and make an environment which will make us more proud about our identity.
Such steps will expand the horizons for Sindhi-Punjabi’s to come out and communicate at a global level and showcase their culture and customs to the world. The people of our community have already attained great heights despite adversity. They have spread far and wide and not yet stopped spreading their wings. Those powerful questions have now been answered, one by one.
But the journey still continues…